A Message from the Global CEO
"If you’re like me, you believe everyone has tremendous potential. But, unfortunately, not everyone has an opportunity to fulfill that potential. Together, we’ve made great strides in 2014 to change that."
Global Chief Executive Officer
Opportunity in 2014
By The Numbers
For more than 20 years, the Caterpillar Foundation and Opportunity have partnered to provide access to financial services and training for people living in poverty in the most rural, remote areas around the world. Today, the results of this enduring collaboration are evident—smallholder farmers achieve increased earnings and improved crop yields; entrepreneurs expand their businesses and strengthen local economies; women empowered with savings accounts, insurance and financial training can afford the cost of education to keep their children in school. With Caterpillar’s steadfast support, we will expand impactful innovations designed to reduce poverty and transform the lives of more than 18.3 million people by 2017.
More than 530,000 children in Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, India and the Philippines can now access a quality education thanks to Credit Suisse’s support of Opportunity’s education finance initiatives. School proprietors use school improvement loans to improve the quality, availability and affordability of education by adding classrooms, hiring qualified teachers and providing lunches. Parents use school fee loans and child savings accounts to cover tuition, books and supplies to keep kids in school even when family incomes fluctuate.
John Deere and Opportunity have joined forces to focus on solutions to fight world hunger. Through the partnership, African farmers in underserved rural communities are achieving increased yields, productivity and household incomes through easy access to customized financial services. In Uganda, John Deere and Opportunity developed an innovative mechanization loan product to give farmers access to tractors and agricultural equipment that substantially improves their productivity, yields and access to markets, garnering higher income at harvest time.
Building on the success of our most recent four-year partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, we are partnering again to provide broader and more convenient financial access to more than 7 million people in Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Together, we will increase financial access through low-cost branches and mobile banking, improve smallholder farmers’ income and food security by expanding financial services and help more children get the education they need by providing education finance tools that increase access to quality education.
MetLife’s investment in Opportunity is helping to improve livelihoods in Jiangsu Province, China, by providing vital financial tools and training to rural, low-income families. Through a three-year partnership, Opportunity and MetLife are ensuring that small business entrepreneurs receive business development services and financial literacy training to sustain business growth and job creation. As a result, hardworking entrepreneurs are operating thriving, sustainable businesses.
Smallholder farmers and low-income families in Eastern, Central and Western Uganda are accessing financial services through Opportunity Uganda thanks to the partnership with VISA. Together, we are helping to electronically link Village Savings and Loan Association members to formal financial services so they enhance their productivity, increase incomes and improve quality of life while contributing to local economic activity.
Those generously contributing to our efforts in the field with their invaluable services, goods and thought partnership.
- Baker and McKenzie, LLP
- Blue Orchard
- Boston Consulting Group
- Caterpillar Foundation
- Cisco System Foundation
- Citi Foundation
- Credit Suisse
- Dorsey and Whitney, LLP
- Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.
- European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE)
- Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.
- Google, Inc.
- Inter-American Development Bank
- John Deere
- Lundin Foundation
- Mars, Inc.
- The MasterCard Foundation
- Mayer Brown, LLP
- MetLife Foundation
- Paramount Media Group
- PVblic Foundation
- Seven Bar Foundation
- UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
- US Agency for International Development (USAID)
- The UPS Foundation
Members who are using their leadership and business skills to champion our cause, while also contributing significant financial support to help bring about life transformation across the globe.
- Chuck Ahlem
- David Allman
- Dennis and Denise Blankmeyer
- Jeannie Buckner
- Jeremy and Krista Carroll
- Richard Cope
- Kathy Drake, Co-Chair
- Jeffrey Germanotta
- John and Kathryn Hart
- Jerry Jensen
- Kris Kelso
- Richard McClure
- Ted Moser
- Fred Sasser
- Tom Skelton, Co-Chair
- Drew Smith
- Peter Thorrington
- Kim Yim
A community of philanthropic individuals who generously invest in the organization to help fight global poverty.
- Vicki Escarra Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity International
Acting Chief Marketing Officer United Stationers
Principal Northern Beacher Christian School, Sydney
Chairman, Opportunity Australia
Chairman, Opportunity Canada
Chairman, Lupient Companies
The Right Rev. Laurent Mbanda
Bishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Shyria Diocese
Regional Director, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Chairman, Opportunity Germany
Former Senior Partner, CarVal Investors / Cargill, Inc.
Beth Johnston Stephenson
Founding Partner, Willis Stein & Partners
Mark A. Thompson
Chief Manager, Riverbridge Partners, LLC
Former President & COO, Uti Worldwide, Inc.
Partner, The Edgewater Funds
Chairman, Opportunity UK and MicroEnsure Holdings Ltd.
U.S. Board & Global Board Members as of July 2015
- Katéy Assem, Executive Director, Chicago State University Foundation
- Karen Robinson Cope, Executive Vice President, NanoLumens
- James W. Cox, Former Executive Vide President, Fiserv, Inc.
- Sandra Davis, Chair and Founder, MDA Leadership Consulting
- Vicki Escarra, Global Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity International
- Peter King AO, Former CEO, John Fairfax Group
- Mark Linsz, Former Treasurer, Bank of America
- Barbara Lupient, Chairman, Lupient Companies
- Richard McClure, Former President, UniGroup, Inc.(United Van Lines / Mayflower Transit)
- Jane Nelson, Former Vice President, Bank of America
- Elizabeth S. Perdue, Partner, Holland & Knight
- LeAnn Pederson Pope, Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C.
- Herve L. Sarteau, Former Senior Partner, CarVal Investors / Cargill Inc.
- Beth Johnston Stephenson, Founding Partner, Willis Stein & Partners
- Mark A. Thompson, Chief Manager, Riverbridge Partners, LLC
- Peter Thorrington, Former President & COO, UTi Worldwide, Inc.
- David M. Tolmie, Senior Partner, The Edgewater Funds
- Vicki Escarra
Global Chief Executive Officer Opportunity - U.S. Chief Executive Officer
- Frazer Hume
Global Chief of Banking Operations
- Liz Lang
Acting Global Chief Marketing Officer
- Jim Lemke
Global Chief Human Resources Officer
- Steve Lavey
Global Chief Financial Officer
- Chris Murdoch
Global Chief Strategist
- Ron Gray
- David Simms
Global Chief Development Officer Opportunity - U.S. President
Executive team as of July 2015
Learn more about Opportunity International's impact at opportunity.org
God has been so good in providing for me. As a single mother, I often struggled to pay for my five children to attend school—until Opportunity started a Trust Group in my village this year. It has been very good to be a part of the group. We support each other [by guaranteeing each other’s loans]. Our loan officer is wonderful, and all of our members share ideas, so we benefit from more than just a loan. I used my loan to buy high-quality seeds and fertilizer, and now I am profitable. I have built a house, sent my children to school and even hired someone to help me tend the land. I am so proud that I can now provide for my family."Mary Makkazi (second from right), a Maize Farmer in Uganda, with members of her Trust Group and their loan officer (second from left)
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